it is time for me to head to the coast for a few days.
to slow down.
to take some deep breaths.
to leave some fear and anxiety on the sands of the beach, and hope that the tide carries them far out.
to talk with friends.
to cry. i know there will be tears.
to say my thanks.
to try and heal a bit and find new some renewed energy for continuing to find my way through sharing my life with cancer. that part of my life that i so wish never had to be part of my story (or anyone else's).
to gather up some strength to keep up the fight.
to refocus on my priorities and how i want to spend my time.
just to be.
i will also be sending a ton of love north to beth as she finishes this first phase in her battle against cancer when she completes her radiation/chemo round this week. the side effects are now very tough on her, so send her lots and lots of love and prayers and good thoughts. thanks again also to all of those that signed up to be part of the happy mail campaign, beth wrote this on her site today, "Alli - thanks for setting up that campaign. I have no idea how long it lasts but it is so helpful and something to look forward to."
i hope that you all have a good rest of your weekend and a great weekend as well.
around here we are sad that the weekend is coming to a close, as always, it has gone way to fast.
around here i had a mystery night with my girlfriends and my friend kerry planned a night of fun. dinner at a great brewery (that had a ton of good gluten free options which i appreciated) and then we did the cycle saloon throughout ballard and had a blast. we had such a good time and there was (as usual) about a million laughs. i love our monthly mystery nights, always an adventure.
around here we had a girls day with lunch, painting pottery, and cupcakes with friends. perfect saturday afternoon.
around here we watched malena swim four laps up and down the full size pool during her lessons.
around here we are in love with our newest family member harper.
around here we had campout nights and lazy mornings with cartoons.
around here we made our first trip to the park in the beautiful sunday sunshine, hello spring, you are looking good.
around here we are sending good thoughts and prayers to all that lost their homes due to the massive mudslide in snohomish county, to all of the emergency workers that are working around the clock, and to all of those that are still missing and their families.
around here we are rooting on beth as she heads into her final week of chemo/radition, and we are sending her good vibes as she battles her way through all of the side effects. you can do this, i know that without a doubt.
around here we are loving seeing the pics of the lykkens on vacation and chase checking out the shade
around here i am getting excited to head to the your story retreat in oregon later this week. it will be some much needed time to catch my breath and slow way down, and spend time with friends. i am so looking forward to it.
around here we have been playing book store and i get to be the the cashier while malena is the librarian. we have one main customer who has spent quite a bit of money on books;)
around here it is past my bedtime, so i better sign off before i get reprimanded by my big brother.
around here i hope that your week gets off to a great start. xo
this weekend i was wearing one of my favorite sweaters (thank you fogos). as i was getting ready to head out, i was thinking about how cool it would be if everyone saw "be amazing" as a daily reminder. the world might just be a better place. i can tell you that just wearing the sweater inspires me, i have thought about wearing it everyday but i might start to get a few looks at work;) but wearing it is always a good reminder to me of how just a few words can change your entire perspective on a day.
thanks to some family members that were eager to donate today to the cancer walk (love you guys), i realized that i needed to provide my specific fundraising page for those that would like to donate to "alli's angels". so if you would like to donate, you can do so directly to our team on my homepage which is https://secure.getmeregistered.com/homepage.php?id=6640
on saturday, my awesome sister-in-law and her family and friends hosted their annual bunco party to raise donations for our 2014 shore walk team.
they do such an amazing job. tons of great food and drinks. awesome raffle prizes. lots of fun all the way around.
this year there were 32 women that came for the bunco fun, and in just under three hours over $1200 was raised for our "alli's angels" team!!! our team is off to a great start!!
betsy making her world famous daquiris
my sis-in-law's famous taco dip (that i had already dived into) and my cold cider (yum)
my friend sharon (you all have rooted for her many times) as she also likes to kick cancer in the you-know-what
the fabulous ladies who hosted the bunco event, love these girls
when we first started doing the shore walk, it felt like a way to do something positive related to cancer which felt like such a negative. for me it felt like a way to show melanoma that i would keep fighting, and keep walking, for as long as it takes to find a cure. i still walk for those reasons. but i also walk for all of those that are fighting all kinds of cancer, both for those that i know and for those that are strangers. for everyone that is in the fight, for those that have finished their fight. we walk for them all.
if you would like to walk with us this year (or run as there are also 5 and 10k runs), you can sign up at http://shorerun.com/. you can also donate to our team "alli's angels" on that page as well.
we made it through our appointment with the realtors yesterday (even without any tears) and will know more in the coming weeks about what decisions we will make.
in the meantime, i am looking forward to this weekend.
a day that is going to be spent primarily out of the office. lunch with friends. a happy hour event to recognize the hard work of one of my staff. popcorn. campouts. sleeping in (this time change has caused to me feel like i am moving as fast as a snail, and that might be a generous comparison). seeing my parental team and family. a bunco fundraiser to raise money for our annual walk for fred hutchinson cancer research. sleeping in (did i mention that already?). crafting up some bridal shower invitations. time with malena and barrett relaxing. slowing down, taking some deep breaths, taking care of myself.
the weekend is looking good, so glad that it is almost here.
also, the winner of the card giveaway was kadeena, congrats!
have a good weekend peeps, talk to you on the flip side. xo
i really liked this post from ali edwards about making it through hard things. it is a good reminder about choosing love, even when life doesn't turn out the way that you expect or want it to. i think that i choose love each and every day, but sometimes it is harder to do than others when anger and fear creep in. i also love ali's post because it inspires me to write letters to malena. what i love about how ali writes and documents stories is that she provides a connection to her thoughts that her kids may never have otherwise known. i would love to do the same for malena. reading "glitter and glue" over the weekend reminded me of how important it is to help malena know me in ways other than mom.
last reminder, thursday at 9pm is last chance to enter for the card giveaway -- good luck peeps! xo
today we met with our mortgage specialist to talk through our options.
i was in the tears on the way there. i held it together for most of the appointment.
yes, most of the appointment. but, not all of the appointment.
towards the end, i told her about what was going on because it is such a big part of these decisions that we are considering. i could only get her name out, then the tears came and i couldn't talk, but eventually i pulled it back together.
i so wish that we could just make decisions and not have to think through the unknowns of the future. to have to simultaneously carry where we have been while at the same time trying to figure out where we are going. but i guess we all do that every minute of every day. it just seems that at times with these decisions about our home the weight of both just seems so much heavier than normal.
and it never gets easier. it never seems to be easier to say those words associated with cancer to someone who doesn't know. to weave together the pieces for them of why the timing of when we make decisions is factored on a risk call of whether our lives will look different after the first week of may. to weave together the pieces for them of why i start to have a hard time breathing when we talk about long term mortages because thinking long term scares me to my core. to weave together the pieces the best i can, maybe just as much for them as for me.
thursday we meet with our realtors and that is going to be a tough one. i think that seeing them in our house will remind me of when they first showed it to us. when we were just married, when i had long blonde hair, when we had never had one second of thinking that we wouldn't have long lives together in this house. when we thought that we would raise our two kids here. that it would only be the happily ever after for us, not the part of the vows when you learn what you do in sickness and in health.
but the big decisions are never the easy ones, i learned that a long time ago.
you keep showing up and making the best decisions you can with the cards that you are dealt.
on thursday i will take a look at my cards and i will keep playing.
i can tell you this, i am definitely not going to throw in my hand.
+++ reminder -- if you want to be entered into the card giveaway, leave a comment by 9pm on thursday on the blog. anyone should be able to comment on the blog, easiest way for some might be to click the "anonymous" selection for the "comment as" prompt (which is at the bottom of each blog post). when you type in your comment, make sure that you leave your name with comment so that i know it is you in case you are the big winner (which you know you will be);)
happy hump day, we are half way there. i for one am pretty happy about that. xo
on friday i had an appointment at my general doc's office. being back in that office brings on such strong flashbacks of the day that my doc first said she didn't like the way that mole on my collarbone looked and she wanted to biopsy it. i can remember the office we were in. i can remember that i had my navy zip-up sweatshirt on. i can remember it all. this time i hadn't been in for over a year since most of all my appointments these days are with my oncologist or dermatologist. so, i also got to tell them that my diagnosis had changed from stage iii to stage iv, that is always a super fun stat to give an update on (not). so i was feeling a little off on friday because being in that office always leave me feeling rattled.
so when i saw that my dermatologist had left a voicemail for me late on friday afternoon, i wasn't sure if i wanted to hear what he had to say. so i looked at that little "1" on my phone telling me i had a new voicemail for a few minutes. then i finally pushed play. it was good news. the lump on my arm was a growth that is not related to cancer in any way and is not anything that i need to worry about. huge relief, and a good way to start the weekend. thanks for all of the good vibes you sent my way for those results. and the day had come full circle.
i had another full circle experience earlier in the week as well. my friend hannah had told me a month or so ago for a woman that she knew who lived in seattle and was also diagnosed with stage iv melanona.
deb and i were able to meet up with earlier this week, and as soon as i walked in, i recognized her immediately. at one of the melanoma clinic's that i go to each april, deb had shared her story with all of us. she had an original diagnosis from a mole on her back, and years and years later, the melanoma came back in her small intestine with multiple tumors. as soon as i saw her, i immediately remembered her. although clearly i wish that we didn't have it in common, it was so nice to be in the same room with someone who had also heard the words "stage iv melanoma". someone who was a mom to a daughter, who obviously has many of the same reasons to fight as i do. deb is doing great and just got some clear scans results in january and so she will not have scans for another year. that is awesome. and it gives me a little more hope. i am so happy we can now share our journeys.
this weekend i read glitter and glue and it was amazing. i knew it would be since kelly corrigan wrote it. i could not put it down. there were many parts of it that hit me hard, and i felt like kelly was taking words right out of my mouth. in particular the parts where she talked about her own fears as a mom after her own cancer diagnosis. this is one of those books that i think that every mom or anyone who has a mom (so pretty much everyone) should read. it will strike a chord with you in some way that will leave you feeling grateful you read her words.
another weekend down, a busy and emotional week begins.
we are meeting with our mortgage specialist and our realtors this week, the time has come to decide what we are going to do about our home. after i had wrote the first post on this topic, we decided to not make any decisions at that time for a couple of different reasons. now that we have decided malena will go to kindergarten at the school she is currently at, we have to make a decision and implement it prior to registration next year. so this will be a long week, and it will be a tough one. this entire topic is so emotionally charged for me that i feel tired even writing about it.
i hope that your monday is a good one, and that your weekend was a great one.
here we go again, atleast i know that this week isn't going to bring any stitches, so that already makes it a guaranteed better week than the last one;) xo
today was definitely one of those days that felt like i held the shit in one hand and the joy in the other.
let's review the hand with the shit.
started out with an appointment at my derm's office. i had a small lump on my left forearm. he doesn't think that it is anything that we will need to be worried about, but he removed it, i got stitches (again) and now we wait on results. so now the upper and lower parts of my left arm will have scars. that just leaves the lower part of my right arm, maybe the tattoo on my wrist will be good karma. i sure as hell hope so. send good mojo to my sore arm, i should hear from my derm by the beginning of the week.
work. enough said. brutal day. thinking i might not want to back. will sleep on it;)
major kiddo meltdown at bedtime. it was epic. you may have heard it from where you were (trust me, it was louder where i was).
let's review the hand with the joy.
morning laughter with malena. hearing "momma, i am going to wait to eat my breakfast until your breakfast is ready too so we can eat together."
the line of ten people in front of me at the post office going faster than i thought it would.
getting to spend some qt with beth on the eve of her birthday. even though part of our qt was spent at uw for her radiation treatment, i would not have wanted to be anywhere else but there since that is where she needed to be.
some down time with malena and barrett at the end of the day (before the epic meltdown;)).
good news for my friend mike that he got from his latest round of tests. there is some follow up occuring on a hot spot that showed up so more to come, but good news in that his pet scan was almost clear and his bone marrow test showed that the cancer tissue has decreased from 7% to 0.01%. awesome! keep the prayers going his way.
so all in all, both hands felt full today -- at certain moments one hand feeling a little heavier than the other.
but that is what it is all about, carrying both at the same time, while you keep moving forward -- and being so thankful that you get to be here to experience all of it (yes, even the epic meltdown).
have a good wednesday, and to beth -- happy, happy birthday my dear, sending you lots of love as always on your special day. xo
oh weekend, you were a good one and i miss you already.
as expected, highlights included:
+++ friday morning starbucks date with my favorite girl. yes, that breakfast included a rice krispie treat and chocolate milk. yes, she gets to make her own choice for breakfast. yes, i know it isn't the breakfast of champions. yes, i know that she will have these pictures and memories to remember that every friday we had a special date - just the two of us. yes, she will remember that those were the mornings when rice krispie treats and chocolate milk and time with her mom made her happy. yes, just yes.
+++ got to catch up with my good friends mike and joel, and their lovely wives jenn and laura. i also got to teach them some lessons in how to play shuffleboard (aka i was the champion, but i don't want to rub it in since i know that they are reading this and i don't want to see them in tears. again). i didn't even charge them for the lesson. how nice of me is that? these guys are two of my most favorite people that i have ever worked with. hands down. if i could have worked next to them every day in my career, i would have been a happy girl.
this is an action shot of how to play shuffleboard. yes, sticking my tongue out when i push the puck definitely helps my game. big time. you are welcome for the tip (josh -- you would have gone down in flames as well my friend...just sayin').
+++ we celebrated beth's birthday and got to meet some of the people that are important in her life. a very nice night to celebrate a great girl.
+++ we ate chocolate.
+++ we opened up our kiwi crate and spent a couple of hours playing a very cool game that taught malena about the continents and important places in the world. we got to travel the world without every leaving our kitchen. very fun. i love it when that green box shows up in our mailbox. +++ we had malena's first play date at our house, and had fun watching her three friends play, paint, and decorate cupcakes. i wish that i could tap into the energy level of those four 5 year olds, i think that i would have energy to make it through the year. +++ i am working hard on taking the time needed to really take good care of myself. that includes taking time to cut up fruits and veggies to eat in every meal of the day. trying to get more sleep. reclaiming my fridays off from work (this last one hopefully being an exception since i was in the office). taking deep breaths and remembering to slow down. today i got about an hour and a half of some solo down time. i thought briefly about reaching for my work bag and knocking out one of the big deadlines i have coming up this week. but instead, i took some deep breaths and focused on what i needed to do to take care of myself. so i made some green tea. i hung out in my craft room. i lit a candle. i printed off our pictures from the last two weeks. i spent my time putting our pictures into our album, documenting our lives, and spending that time in the best way i could have. that was definitely the right decision. one decision at a time.
+++ i came across ann-marie's podcast list and am thinking that i need to check out some of these. have never listened to a podcast before, pretty sure that needs to be on my to do list. +++ i loved the idea in nicole reaves post of using a hanger to display a print...might just need to try that one out. +++ i spent some time drooling over the new spring collection at mulberry press co. i am such a sucker for cool prints. +++ we were super glad to hear the update on chaser:
Our Warriors Kindred Spirit!
Chasers Little body may be overshadowed by this Auguste Rondin's 7 foot sculpture at Mayo, but his spirit soars well above it! He has been nothing short of amazing this entire week for the tests, the 5am wake-up calls, the 2hrs drive each way, sitting in his wheel chair for hours, the two nights without feedings ect...ect.. No crying, no moaning, hardly even a hic-up came from his chapped lips while we were down there. We have just had our final review recap with one of the nurses on the Aero team and are headed back home. Chaser is in back with his with Captain America headphones on, jammin to some tunes, Lisa has her hands at 10 and 2, white knuckled -glowing from ear to ear I might add- as I am filling in the blanks for you guys- and wishing I was driving! :)
Yesterday morning Chaser had a bowel emptying study (to see how fast he is digesting his food, and to make sure his digestive tract is working good) and we met with the Dietician (to discuss his current formula intake, and come up with a better plan for feeding) This morning he had an EEG-- (to look for any signs of Seizure activity), then met with Cathy from OT (followup on his swallowing and muscle spasticity) - and then we had a recap with results of all the tests. And here is what we found:
In regards to the vomiting and stomach pain- His samples came back normal. The sample taken from his stomach showed a slight elevation in bacteria in his stomach. Nothing to be concerned with, but could potentially be causing the vomiting- we are going to try an antibiotic for a week to see if that helps. We have also added Miralax to his daily cocktail- to try and relieve these pains.
The Hormonal-Prepuberty tests- His hand x-ray came back completely in the norm of that of a 5 year old. His blood work was normal as well! He is NOT experiencing early puberty!
The EEG test- His EEG test came back good! There were NO signs of any seizures or seizure-like activity! The neurologist was also pleased that he showed a definite sleep pattern- (Chaser took a little rester while being in the room hooked up to all those wires.....must have been the classical music that zonked him!) He also said that if he were to compare this EEG test with that of the one taken back in July at Gillette's, he would certainly find a BIG improvement!
The Bowel Emptying Study. These results really got us pumped- they showed that Chaser is digesting almost 25% faster than he did when we did this study back in Sept! This is good info, so now we can plan his feedings better and know when he is full. Lisa says she will leave the math up to me :)
-His muscle spasticity- the neurologist has decided to put him back on a low dosage of valium- not for pain control, but to help with muscle tone. Lisa and Chaser are back on Monday to meet with a doctor to discuss Botox and Phenol in his arms and legs to help loosen him up.
All in all- this was an AWESOME visit! Once again, two steps forward, no steps back! We are leaving here with more in site and more tools to keep Chaser on track for a full recovery-Lord willing! Thank you all for you prayers and support. Have a great weekend!
God is Good!"
+++ we loved watching the oscars and ate some popcorn to celebrate. my favorite part being some of the amazing speeches. i don't think that i will ever forget matthew's words, "we all need someone to look up to, something to look forward to, and someone to chase."
+++ was super excited that my mason jar tumbler came, i will be using it to drink my smoothies every morning while i am driving to work.
+++ the weekend is ending with one extra campout night, because why not? sometimes sunday nights need a little fun, a little early mojo to start the week off right.